Bristol submitted a bid this week to become the UK’s first Internet of Things (IoT) Demonstrator city region generating an investment of nearly £17 million if successful.
The competition is delivered by Innovate UK on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) which will investment £10 million for a single collaborative research and development project. This will be match funded by the partners with Bristol leading the bid on behalf of other West of England Local Authorities and businesses.
The purpose of the demonstrator city is to show how the IoT can be implemented on a large scale by using everyday objects that are connected to a network. The data this captures can benefit citizens by helping to improve the environment as well as services such as transport and healthcare.
Bristol is Open (BIO), the city council’s joint venture with the University of Bristol, is already pioneering the introduction of smart city technology whereby data can be collated through city-centre sensors linked to a high performance computer. Bristol is therefore well placed in terms of having the experience, resources and expertise to take this project forward.
In particular, the IoT Demonstrator bid will propose new ways of meeting the challenges to air pollution that major cities face. With the cost of air pollution in the UK nearing £54 billion per year and 29,000 people dying early from air pollution it is imperative the issue is tackled.
Bristol will be working in partnership with leading businesses; Japanese IT company, NEC; professional service firm, Ernst and Young (EY); multinational digital industrial company, GE (General Electric) world leading design, engineering and project management consultancies, Atkins Global; technical service provider, Imtech UK; technology company, Esoterix Systems; data aggregation and communication platform Zipabout as well as relationship business management company Zuora.
The group hope to develop better, cheaper and more granular environment measures, deploying innovative mobility solutions that lower emissions and create apps and services for people with health conditions that are aggravated by air pollution.
The application comes as Bristol, as part of a consortium with San Sebastián and Florence, was recently awarded €25 million to create integrated smart city solutions to tackle familiar urban problems such as traffic congestion, poor air quality and unsustainable energy use. The project will primarily focus on East Bristol and aims to look at how we can further develop technology in order to create efficient, integrated and interactive urban environments which empower citizens.
This award is part of the Smart Cities and Communities funding call, through EU’s Horizon 2020 innovation programme, that sought two to three high impact cities, so-called ‘lighthouses’, which facilitate collective learning and through which key findings and successful ways of working can be replicated by ‘Follower Cities’ in order to find solutions to urban problems. The Bristol consortium – REPLICATE (REnaissance of PLaces with Innovative Citizenship And TEchnologies) – was given the highest score of all the entries for its innovative proposal to integrate energy, transport and ICT at scale in the City.
Academics from both the University of Bristol (UoB) and the University of the West of England (UWE) will be involved in the project research and evaluation work. Dr Mike Yearworth in the Faculty of Engineering is leading the University of Bristol’s collaboration and the strategic planning and business modelling work for the overall project. Professor Dimitra Simeonidou, Head of the High Performance Networks (HPN) Group in the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Engineering and Bristol Is Open’s Chief Technology Officer is developing the Smart City Platform concept. Dr Helen Manchester from the University of Bristol’s Faculty of Social Sciences and Law is leading the citizen engagement activities working with Knowle West Media Centre. Professor Graham Parkhurst, Professor of Sustainable Mobility and Director of the Centre for Transport and Society at UWE, and Professor Eddie Wilson at the UoB have brought their transport modelling expertise to the project.
Kevin O’Malley, City Innovation Team Manager for Bristol said:
Winning the REPLICATE bid further shows how Bristol is leading the way in researching what the cities of the future could look like and we are delighted to be collaborating with our local partners and with colleagues in San Sebastián and Florence. It is great to now finally be able to implement the smart technology our bid covered in order to create cities a that are better equipped and more resilient to the future.
The details of the REPLICATE bid will be confirmed in the coming months with the outcome of the IoT bid to be shared by the end of November 2015.